What is Headless Mode on a Drone?

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Many affordable drones are now shipping with the Headless Mode feature (also called Head Free Mode or Care Free Mode). But have you ever wondered how this feature works for a drone?  This article answers this very question to expand your drone knowledge.

Headless Mode at one time was only available on the more advanced, and expensive drones but with advancements in technology, this function is now being featured on affordable drones.


This function stems from the issue of orientation that many flyers come across. It can be hard to control the drone’s orientation using a joystick due to the fact that they are relatively small and the difficulty to tell the drone’s front from its back.

To help identify these directions, the back of the drone has props in dark colors, such as black or blue, while the front of the drone has red props. However, once the drone is a certain distance apart from you, it is virtually impossible to tell between the colors. This again poses the problem of orientation.

To solve this problem some manufacturers supply colored LED lights that specify the front with red lights, and the back with another color. However, in daylight these LED lights are pretty ineffective. So how to solve this problem? Headless Mode will solve it.

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What Is Headless Mode?

In simple terms, Headless Mode allows pilots to give up worrying about orientation altogether. Regardless of which way the drone is facing, this function ensures that the drone will always follow controls from your perspective all the time.


The functioning of Headless Mode is pretty simple. The only thing that you need to do is to position the drone in such a way that its front is your front before taking off. When you activate Headless Mode, you don’t have to worry about which way the drone forward direction is pointing because the onboard flight computer always aligns the drone movements to be relative to the controller.

When you push forward, from your perspective, the drone moves forward, still from your perspective, and vice versa. For example, if the drone is flying towards you without Headless Mode and you command it to turn to your left, the drone would instead turn to ITS left.

This means that the Headless Mode function eliminates the need to have to keep track of the orientation of the drone, which makes flying the drone much simpler.

Should You Purchase a Drone With Headless Mode Feature?

It depends. Most drones that do offer Headless Mode are toy grade. Headless Mode can prove to be a headache-less choice if you’re a newbie who has yet to acquire a drone. For a new pilot still adjusting to flying a drone this feature provides an easy entry into the world of drones.


On the other hand, it is recommended to practice on a ‘regular’ aka non-headless mode drone if you want to take your hobby to the next level. Also, you can limit your options for upgrades by choosing Headless Mode. The mode advanced drone models don’t often have the headless mode feature.

This feature is perfect for aerial filmmakers because it closely mimics the perspective and mechanics required to use a video-camera and allows them to focus their attention on the filmmaking aspect. For them, filming is more of a priority and they do not want to waste their flying time trying to not to make any orientation mistakes.

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The answer to whether to go the Headless Mode route or not can be complex. The Headless Mode feature on drones is perfect for the newbie and rookie pilots, and is useful in some situations where you lose track of the drone orientation.


On the other hand, some pilots are not fond of this feature and insist that you learn how to fly with the Headless Mode turned off. This function could also significantly limit your upgrade options. That’s why buying a cheap drone is considered to be the best choice.

Today almost every toy drone comes with features such as Headless Mode and Altitude Hold Mode. That said, you do not want to get a headless mode drone if you do wish to fly in FPV anytime soon. It remains to be seen if the demand for Headless Mode drones would elicit drone companies to produce more advanced drones with the Headless Mode function.


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